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Why lump sums work well for employers and injured workers

When injured workers file workers’ compensation claims, benefits may be given to workers in lump sums or in multiple smaller amounts. According to a study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, providing injured workers with lump sum settlements actually inspire a more speedy return to the workplace.

This conclusion directly contradicts popular assumptions which insist that providing injured workers with lump sums discourages these individuals from returning to the workplace as soon as they are able to. It seems that when workers are granted lump sums, they can concentrate more fully on their recovery.

The author of the study is employed as a public policy analyst at the WCRI. When the study was released he explained that, “This is an important study because we need to find out whether settlements discourage return to work for injured workers who want to return to work or assist them in closing this chapter of their life and moving on with their career. My hope is this research will help policymakers and other stakeholders understand how workers respond to receiving a lump sum settlement.”

As awareness of this study grows, hopefully an increasing number of workers will be granted access to lump sum settlements. A healthy and vibrant workforce benefits not only workers and their families, but also employers and the economy as a whole. Forcing workers to stress about their medical bills and other costs associated with injury as they wait for their smaller settlements to arrive does not seem to support this goal.

Source: Claims Journal, “Study: Lump Sum Settlements Encourage Return to Work,” WCRI, July 12, 2012

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